Hey Now You’re an All-Star

The Major League Baseball All-Star game is a dichotomy within the world of sports. On the surface it is a celebration of sorts, a milestone that marks the half way point of a marathon of 162 games. It is an opportunity for the fans to recognize their favorite players. Notice that I said recognize their favorite and not recognize the most deserving. Let’s not be delusional, the majority of fans voting do so based on name recognition not on merit. How else can you explain Mike Piazza being voted as the starting catcher for the National League? When was the last time a reserve catcher was named the starter of anything?

The problem with the All-Star game is that Commissioner Selig in his infinite wisdom decided he never wanted to be in the position he was in at Milwaukee in 2002 when he had to declare the game a tie. Instead he felt it would be in the best interests of baseball that this game count for something. That something just so happens to be home field advantage for the World Series. So to recap, what we have is a game whose starting lineup is chosen by the casual fan and a game whose outcome gives one league an exceptional advantage over the other. I can’t speak for other fans but I know that had a severe impact on my voting style. I used to diligently research each player to determine who should represent each league based on the results the players were having during the first half of the season. I still do that for the National League so that I make sure to reward those players who are having a great season. The American League on the other hand is a different story. Since I am a National League fan and I dream that the Diamondbacks could be the recipient of this home field advantage good fortune, I vote accordingly. That means that every time I voted on an all-star ballot my American League selections were the starting line-up of the Kansas City Royals. This means that the votes cast by John Buck’s mom and me are probably the only all-star votes that John received.

It’s time for Major League Baseball to drop the charade and recognize the all-star game for what it is, a beauty pageant where fans can vote to see their heroes all on the field together. I’ve seen Barry Bonds at Spring Training doing an impression of Paula Abdul so I know the players are capable of acting like Miss America contestants. Then we can do the right thing with home field advantage and let the team with the best record be the home team for the World Series. Maybe the first step to this recognition is to have Regis and Kathy Lee host the All-Star game. We can even let Kathy Lee sing the National Anthem and Regis can sing There She Is during player introductions. I’m pretty sure that the networks will eat this stuff up. After all, if they are willing to show Bonds on Bonds then they are willing to show anything.

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